An Artwork for an Imperfect World is an ambitious and innovative project that challenges contemporary art practice by posing compelling questions about the nature and potential of an artwork. For the period of its exhibition the artwork will serve a variety of functions all engaging with the subject of homelessness. The artwork resists notions of representation but rather directly integrates art and societal issues. The work becomes a catalyst for the discourse that is central to Mick OKellys artistic strategies. The gallery space will temporarily extend its purpose to become an altered territory where the nature of citizenship will be examined.
While there is a visual sculptural element to An Artwork for an Imperfect World its status as an artwork will be defined by a multiplicity of contexts.
Different models of art production define and determine the relationship between content and form. Im engaging with a conceptual performative model. The idea does not transform like signifier and signified. The art object or art as object as vehicle will exchange value depending on site and public understanding of social space. (Mick OKelly, 2002)
Temple Bar Gallery and Studios have worked closely with project partners Merchants Quay Ireland, a non-governmental organisation, to ensure active participation in the project and to endeavour to provide expected standards of discretion and sensitivity in its operation. At the close of the exhibition the artwork will pass to Merchants Quay Ireland for use thereafter as part of its out-reach programme.
Temple Bar Gallery and Studios have collaborated with City Arts Centre in organising a series of roundtable discussions with organisations and individuals involved with the issues ahead of the project being programmed. Civil Arts Inquiry Document 16 circulated in December 2004 records a discussion that occurred in May 2003 between representatives of the arts sector and the social sector. The project has also been prefaced with lectures by Dennis Adams, Edward Soja and Marjetica Potrc.